A Visual Guide On How To Overcome Common Winter Diseases

Winter might be the “most wonderful time of the year” for most of us, but this season does come at a cost. For most of us, winter means at least a week of some seasonal illness and for an unlucky few, some winter health problems could persist for almost the entire season. However, this does not mean that you have to resign yourself to your fate and start hoarding tissues and nasal spray! Here’s what you can do to prevent and treat common winter ailments.

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The Most Common Winter Ailments & How To Deal With Them

1. Colds and Flu

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The common cold and flu that goes around every winter is not the direct result of the lower temperatures. During winter, studies show that the dry air causes mucosal surfaces in your respiratory system to dry up and this increases the risk of succumbing to a bacterial infection. In addition to this, the low winter temperature forces your body to work harder to main your ideal body temperature; so if you do not increase your calorie intake during this time, your body does not get the energy it requires and you are more likely to fall ill.

How To Prevent Colds And Flu This Winter?

Increase your daily calorie intake; this does not mean that you should binge on chips and chaklis, but instead have high calorie healthy foods like nuts and raisins. To prevent dry nasal passages this winter, apply a few drops of almond oil or a dab of petroleum jelly to a cotton ear bud, and gently coat the insides of your nostrils with it. Do this before you go to sleep and before you leave your house in the morning and you will notice the difference in a matter of days. Use a coat, shawl, or sweater when you go out as this will help to keep you warm, and if you get home late at night, have a glass of warm water before you go to sleep.

If you do come down with a cold or the flu, rest as much as possible, drink plenty of hot fluids, and include a generous amount of ginger and garlic in your meals. Ginger and garlic contain several therapeutic compounds that will help to reduce the recovery period for flu or cold.

2. Joint Pain

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Low temperature does not cause arthritis, but it can aggravate arthritis joint pain. Although the reasons for this are unclear, the Arthritis Foundation states that changes in the temperature as well as atmospheric pressure are the cause for increased joint pain during winter. Furthermore, a research study on the link between low temperatures and arthritis pain found that every 10-degree drop in the temperature corresponded with an incremental increase in pain among the study’s arthritic participants. The study also found that lower atmospheric pressure increased arthritis joint pain. Scientists hypothesize that the tissues surrounding the joints expand when air pressure is low and the expanding tissue puts pressure on the joint and this is the cause of arthritis joint pain in winter.

How To Prevent Joint Pain This Winter?

You can use an arthritis compression sleeve over the affected joint as this an effective way to prevent or treat arthritis pain. You can also wrap the affected joints in a few layers of cloth as this will trap your body heat within the layers and this will help to reduce the effects of cold on arthritis joints.

3. Stomach Flu

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The stomach flu is one of the most common winter health problems. This ailment is caused by the Norovirus, but it is commonly called the ‘winter vomiting bug’ because of its widespread prevalence during this season. Some of the most common symptoms of viral gastroenteritis include vomiting, diarrhea, and fever; although it rarely causes any serious complications, it should not be ignored.

How To Prevent Stomach Flu This Winter?

The virus can spread very rapidly from person to person or through contaminated water and food. Although most digestive disorders are spread by food and waterborne pathogens, this stomach bug can spread via airborne transmission. This does not mean that if you are standing next to someone with the virus, you would get ill, rather, if the person vomits, the virus becomes air borne and you can get ill. The only way to reduce your risk of the stomach bug this winter is to avoid roadside food and avoid close proximity to anyone who shows signs of the winter stomach flu.

In addition to these ailments, you are also likely to suffer from dry skin problems and from respiratory issues such as sinusitis. You can use cold cream during winter to prevent and treat dry skin and dress warmly when you go outdoors to prevent respiratory disorders. It is important to note that winter is also associated with a higher risk of heart attacks as the cold temperature increases blood pressure and puts more of a strain on the heart. Ensure that your home is kept warm during the winter to reduce your risk of heart problems during winter.

4. Dry Itchy Skin

The cold dry air in winter often causes dry itchy skin especially for those with sensitive skin. The condition is so common that it is often referred to as the “winter itch”.

How To Prevent Dry Itchy Skin This Winter?

One of the simplest ways to prevent dry itchy skin in winter is to use a moisturizer after every shower. If you have scratched your skin raw, don’t use a cosmetic product but instead use a broad-spectrum anti-microbial skin cream instead. This is because the perfumes and other additives in cosmetic products can irritate broken skin and aggravate your dry skin problem. To treat dry itchy skin in winter, mix a few drops of olive, a drop of any citrus oil and an equal amount of rose water and apply this to your skin before you go to bed. This simple moisturizer will help to treat dry and itchy skin and keep your skin soft and supple all through this season.

5. Headaches

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Headaches are a common winter ailment. The cold air that you breathe hits a sensitive nerve that is connected to your nasal passages as well as your head. This is the largest nerve in your head and when it constricts with the cold, it causes severe headaches.

How To Prevent Headaches This Winter?

The best way to prevent headaches in winter is to limit your exposure to cold dry air. Use thicker curtains in winter to trap the heat and keep out the cold. If you suffer from headaches on a regular basis, you are more likely to be affected by the cold dry air outside, so stay indoors as much as possible after sunset. In order to treat a winter headache, you should use steam inhalation as this will help to soothe the sensitized nerves in your nasal passage and reduce the severity of your headache.

6. Asthma

Managing asthma during winter can be a challenge as the cold winter air can trigger an asthma attack. Cold air increases the volume and viscosity of nasal mucus, which leads to nasal congestion and increases the risk of an asthma attack. Furthermore, winter smog is also likely to cause an asthmatic attack.

How To Prevent Asthma This Winter?

To prevent asthma flare-ups during winter, cover your mouth and nose with a clean cotton scarf. This will help to keep out the chilly bite of the winter cold. You should also exercise indoors as going for a jog early in the morning will increase the risk of an attack. If you have an asthma attack, make sure that you use your “pump” – inhaler or nebulizer as prescribed by your physician.

7. Ear Infections

Ear infections are a common complaint in winter. Although you cannot catch a ear infection from another person, you can catch a cold or a cough from them which will increase your risk of a ear infection.

How To Prevent Ear Infections This Winter?

The Eustachian tube in your ear connects to your upper throat as well as the back of your nasal cavity. This is why a respiratory infection can lead to a ear infection, as the bacteria causing the infection can travel up this tube and into your ear. The simplest way to prevent ear infections in winter is to bolster your immune system so that you do not catch the common cold or a cough. If you do get a ear infection, you can treat it with a simple home remedy for ear infections. Mix 1 drop of garlic oil and 4-5 drops of olive oil and pour this mixture into your ear. Allow it to remain for about an hour and then allow it to drip out of your ear. Garlic oil has anti-microbial properties and so it will destroy the bacteria causing your ear infection.

In addition to these ailments, you are also likely to suffer from dry skin problems and from respiratory issues such as sinusitis. You can use cold cream during winter to prevent and treat dry skin and dress warmly when you go outdoors to prevent respiratory disorders. It is important to note that winter is also associated with a higher risk of heart attacks as the cold temperature increases blood pressure and puts more of a strain on the heart. Ensure that your home is kept warm during the winter to reduce your risk of heart problems during winter.

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